Earlier this month, two men died in a fatal wrong-way crash off of Capital of Texas Highway. According to the police report, one of the cars crossed over the median and hit a pickup truck head-on. One driver died at the scene of the accident while the other died the following day in the hospital. Police are investigating to see if alcohol was a factor.
According to KXAN, this is the 48th fatal traffic accident in Austin so far this year.
Factors That Can Cause a Wrong-Way Crash
Most wrong-way accidents are head-on collisions that give other drivers very little time to react. This is compounded by the fact that wrong-way accidents are difficult to avoid, given other drivers are unable to predict or anticipate the wrong-way driver’s maneuvers. As a result, the consequences of driving in the wrong lane can be catastrophic and often end with severe injuries or death.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, approximately 350 people die each year due to wrong-way accidents. When the National Transportation Safety Board compiled a report on wrong-way crash data, it found the following trends:
- Wrong-way accidents are more likely to happen at night
- Many wrong-way accidents occur due to intoxication
- Many wrong-way crashes occur on the weekend
- Many wrong-way collisions occur in the lane closes to the median
- Wrong-way crashes also occur in areas that have fewer traffic signs posted or in confusing intersections
How to Best Avoid a Wrong-Way Driver
If you are part of an impending wrong-way crash, there is little time to respond and very few correct ways to do so. The best thing you can do is swerve to your right. Many wrong-way drivers are intoxicated and believe they are getting on the correct side of the highway. Statistically, many will move to what they believe is the fast lane. Their left is your right, so swerving to the right may help you avoid a collision. When you are driving at night (especially on weekends), it is best to stay in the far right lane and practice scanning the road a quarter of a mile in front of you for wrong-way drivers.